INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Snow squalls fueled by winds gusting up to 40 mph created blinding conditions on Indiana highways Tuesday, leading to several multi-vehicle pileups include two involving dozens of vehicles that closed Interstate 74 in the southeastern corner of the state, authorities said.
The crashes within a half mile of each other about 20 miles west of Cincinnati closed the interstate in both directions for at least six hours, Indiana State Police Sgt. Stephen Wheeles said. He said six people suffered injuries, but none were life-threatening.
"It's a mess," Wheeles said in a telephone interview several hours after the first crash. "A lot of the witnesses said it was blind-out, whiteout conditions."
Indiana State Police also said three people were injured in a pileup involving nine semitrailers and four passenger vehicles on westbound I-70 near the Ohio state line. Another pileup temporarily closed part of I-65 about 20 miles south of Indianapolis.
The I-74 crashes began about 11 a.m. with a jackknifed semitrailer in westbound lanes that collected 28 other vehicles, Wheeles said. The secondary collisions involving 10 to 12 other vehicles also occurred in westbound lanes as traffic braked for vehicles stopped for the first pileup and went out of control.
Eastbound lanes also were closed to allow emergency vehicles to reach the crashes, Wheeles said.
The National Weather Service placed most of Indiana under a winter weather advisory, saying the snow and wind could cause sudden whiteout conditions and wind chills falling to around zero. Central Indiana received up to 3 inches of snowfall Tuesday.
About 40 counties across the state issued travel advisories or watches because of road conditions.
This story has been corrected to reflect that crashes on I-74 happened 20 miles west of Cincinnati.